‘Summertime’ | Sundance 2020 Review

Summertime — Still 1

‘Summertime’ is directed by Carlos López Estrada and is a collection of poems from different artists put together in a loosely connected story about life, love, and everything in between. All of these characters in one way or another are connected to this unconventional therapist. She uses rap and poetry to express feelings and has even written her own cheesy self-help book detailing how to subdue your ‘demons’. Each character slowly shows their own voice and story in a unique film that I really enjoyed watching!

At the beginning of the film, I wasn’t sure what the tone was settling in on. Is it a musical, is it hyper-realistic, what is the barometer for where we need to take it seriously or laugh at it? Director Carlos López Estrada does a good job after the first couple scenes set the tone for what is a version of “La La Land” with as much glitz and glamour but in a completely different scope. This isn’t two star-crossed lovers, these are all real characters that have unique stories to tell and I liked seeing them on screen.

Summertime — Still 2

The standout performances for me came from a couple characters. The first is a Yelp ‘reviewer’ who is on a mission to find a burger. This actor I can see moving into bigger roles and was very engaging in every scene they were in. The film has its own version of ‘Jay & Silent Bob’ in the form of two street performers wanting to make it big. Their moments are sprinkled throughout the film as the comedic relief and were used really well. The writing in all of the monologues and poetry delivered was great. I often overlook poems and poetry because for some reason I can never connect with what’s written on the page with the feeling the poem is trying to envoke but with ‘Summertime’ that wasn’t an issue.

Summertime — Still 3

It’s not a movie I think that everyone would see as a ‘theatrical experience’ in that It’s very intimate. It’s for most of the time just monologues critiquing society, and while written and performed beautifully, towards the 3rd act starts to slow down the pacing. There is also something to say about having a more streamlined narrative to this where it’s much looser until the 3rd act brings together the characters. I think there could’ve been a little more of a throughline throughout the story that made more sense as to why all of these characters are connected, rather than they are all kinda just within earshot of each other.

Summertime — Still 4

Overall, ‘Summertime’ Is a good watch, and I think should be picked up by a distributor. It has a lot of heart, is beautifully written and has some laughs along the way.



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